Cartoon lost for a decade found

Photo by William McGinn

William McGinn, journalism student at Durham College, posing with the Monster from Monster by Mistake, a missing TV show that McGinn has spent years investigating.

Monster by Mistake!, a Canadian 3D cartoon that has been missing from local television for years and had been labelled “lost media” in the entertainment industry, has been located in Toronto by the Durham College Chronicle.

But the program is still not legally available for viewing by its fans in Canada.

Monster by Mistake featured an eight-year-old boy named Warren Patterson, his sister Tracy and a trumpet-playing ghost named Johnny they became friends with, as they focus on adventures, magic and life with a secret.

Fifty-two episodes of the program were produced. The first episode aired in 1996 and 12 more 23-minute episodes were released on YTV in 1999 creating the first season.

Thirteen more episodes aired for the second season in 2000, and 26 more for the third through 2003-06 before its discontinuation.

After it stopped airing, only six episodes were released on DVD, no company was airing it within North America, and it was not available for purchase, streaming or download, according to The Lost Media Wiki, a website that reports on media that is missing.

By 2015, only three episodes were on YouTube and the other 49 were not available.

This created an air of mystery for fans of the show. Why would no episodes be available? Did the original creators and broadcasters not save any files?

This was a distinct possibility since Monster by Mistake! was a cartoon that was created before technology enhancements all over the world, and Studio 345 (where is this?), which created the cartoon, doesn’t exist anymore.

Over time, more episodes were located on a little-known website called Ameba TV and the entire first season was found for free streaming. However, more than two-thirds of the cartoon remained unavailable to fans of the program.

According to a KidScreen article, KidsCo, a company in Australia, had 26 episodes on file. A 2010 article also said KidsCo partnered with CCI to release a few of its shows, one of which was Monster by Mistake! KidsCo went out of business in early 2014, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Also, two Toronto companies have displayed evidence on their websites of having the cartoon; 9 Story Media Group and CCI, the original distributors.

However, Marly Reed, who works in production and development at CCI, told the Chronicle that Monster by Mistake! was no longer owned by CCI and that 9 Story now owns the rights to license the show to broadcasters.

Reed also said, “I can assure you it isn’t lost forever.”

The Chronicle contacted 9 Story several times for more information, but the inquiries went largely unanswered.

The company did say in an email it did not do “tours.”

However, when the Chronicle visited the 9 Story offices on Dec. 5, 2017 Jayna Rana, a distribution assistant at 9 Story, said, “[9 Story] would have the cartoon on file since we have the right to broadcast it. We’d have Seasons 1, 2, and 3.”

This information was confirmed by Rhya Tamasauskas of 9 Story’s media department.

“We have all 52 episodes on file and playable,” she said in an email. “In fact they are available for screening via our Amazon Channel – Toonscape, but currently only in the U.S. So technically they are available to the American public, but unfortunately not here in Canada.”

ToonScape is affiliated with Amazon Prime.

Tamasauskas also says until a broadcaster buys the rights to play the show on a Canadian platform, the show will remain unavailable to fans here.

After years of the public not sure if Monster by Mistake was gone for good, the entire series has been found.

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William juggles all sorts of skills and dreams in a panic to find what sticks: He's an author, movie and book reviewer, voice actor and YouTuber. He's also the journalist who retrieved Monster by Mistake, a 3D Canadian cartoon which went missing from the public for over 10 years. He is the author of the YA book The Blacktop Brothers and its four sequels, and has been reviewing movies and books weekly on his website, Weldon Witness, since 2014. His main hobbies are sleeping in, speeding through books, taking pride in every article, and entertainment journalism is his favourite